Western Animation / Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey

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Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey is a Christmas Special produced in Stop Motion puppet animation (called "Animagic") by Rankin/Bass Productions. It was first aired in 1977.

The film is narrated by Santa Claus's donkey, Speiltoe, voiced by Roger Miller. He tells the tale of a donkey with abnormally long ears named Nestor, who lived in the days of The Roman Empire. Every animal in the stable disliked Nestor because of his ears, and they inadvertently lead to his exile from his farm. After losing his mother, Nestor makes a great, perilous journey with the help of a cherub, and soon goes to fulfill his destiny as an integral part in the birth of Jesus Himself.

Compare with Disney's theatrical release The Small One for a somewhat similar premise.

Examples:

  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: The crooked donkey salesman looks at Mary, and her aura of holiness compels him to give Nestor to her for free. Once they leave, he wonders why on earth he did that.
  • Christmas Special: It tells the story of a who helped Mary get to Bethlehem. With all the cute animals and angels, one might think this a cheery, happy kind of special but it really isn't.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After a lifetime of abuse, mockery, losing his mother, and other various hardships, Nestor becomes a revered hero in helping Mary get to Bethlehem and is welcomed back to his old home with open arms.
  • Easily Forgiven - At the end, Nestor goes home to the donkey breeder, who kicked him out into the cold, and the other animals who made fun of him, and seems perfectly happy to see them all now that they're welcoming him back as a hero.
  • Ethereal Choir: Actually a plot point; Nestor's large ears let him hear the singing angels despite the sandstorm making it impossible to see, thus guiding him to Bethlehem.
  • Hero of Another Story: Almost said word for word about Rudolph when Spieltoe is naming Santa's reindeer, as he muses that Rudolph's story is for another time.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The other young donkeys on the farm are cruel to Nestor for his large ears.

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